Holidays

Seasons in the sun: Holiday habits in the North East in years gone by are revealed

British tourists jetting off on their holidays this summer will be going on shorter breaks than holidaymakers two decades ago.

That’s according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), which has studied how our holiday habits have changed since the 1990s.

More than 45 million UK residents enjoyed a foreign holiday in 2016 – soaring from 27 million just two decades before.

Gone are the days of the Walkmans and travel irons, and with that it seems the traditional two-week holidays and one-day ‘booze cruises’ across the Channel.

Examining data from the ONS’ International Passenger Surveys in 1996 and 2016, the Government department revealed a trend for Brits to take more shorter holidays.

A week-long break or a 10-day trip have now replaced the usual fortnight as the preferred holiday length.

A fly-past on the opening day, 1935, Newcastle Airport

This is believed to be due to the take-off in popularity of budget airlines such as easyJet and Ryanair.

Leon McQuaid, aviation development manager at Newcastle Airport, said the national trend since 1996 has been mirrored by North East travellers.

He said: “ONS have seen a marked shift in destination popularity over the last 20 years, with the traditional two-week summer holiday more often being swapped for several shorter breaks taken throughout the year.

“For Newcastle International Airport, summer leisure routes continue to grow along with city break destinations which have increased in popularity over the years, largely thanks to the wide range of destinations offered by our low cost carriers.”

Spain remains the most popular destination for UK jetsetters with holidays to the resort rising 87% since 1996.

France remains second choice despite a small drop in visits, while Germany has now joined the top 10.

Newcastle Airport terminal, 1960
Newcastle Airport terminal, 1960

From Newcastle, Heathrow remains the most popular first stop while second-placed Amsterdam has seen passenger numbers almost double since 1997 to 365,000.

The airport’s Emirates flight to Dubai, which was only launched in 2007, now ranks in the top 10 most popular destinations.

Mr McQuaid added: “Our daily services to the world’s main airport hubs, such as Heathrow, Amsterdam and Dubai, have allowed more passengers to use Newcastle International to access a range of long haul destinations.

“The ONS statistics also recorded a huge rise in UK visits to the United Arab Emirates, which is very much reflected in our departure board today.

“With more than 233,000 passengers using this service in 2016 it is our fifth largest international route and a great asset to the region.”

British Airways Concorde visits Newcastle Airport, 1994
British Airways Concorde visits Newcastle Airport, 1994

Looking back on the 1990s at Newcastle Airport, the Tyneside transport hub saw the completion of the Metro extension and the visit of the Concorde.

Millions of commuters have since taken advantage of the station which was completed to the cost of £12m, and opened to the public on November 17, 1991.

A few years later, supersonic jet Concorde wowed the crowds in an appearance in April 1994.

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